by Waseem Shehzad (Islamic Movement, Crescent International Vol. 44, No. 11, Rabi' al-Awwal, 1437)
The clowns in Saudi Arabia never cease to produce rabbits out of a hat. Their latest venture (or adventure) is the 34-nation anti-terror alliance that was announced without even consulting some of its supposed members.
If a monkey is handed a loaded gun, the chances are it will either blow its own brains out or someone else’s. Something akin to this is happening in the medieval Kingdom occupied by the head-chopping Najdi Bedouins, which is erroneously referred to as “Saudi” Arabia (calling it “Saudi” Arabia is shirk since it amounts to accepting the Najdi Bedouins’ ownership of the land when everything belongs to Allah – swt).
On December 15, the Saudi Defence Minister Muhammad ibn Salman (believed to be about 30 years old) announced in Riyadh that the Kingdom had formed a grand alliance of 34 countries to fight terrorism and extremism. The anti-terror alliance would be based in Riyadh and would include such great warriors as the Qataris, Kuwaitis, Emiratis and of course the Najdi Bedouins. Others on the list include Turkey, Nigeria, Mali, Egypt, Jordan, Pakistan, Malaysia and a host of others.
The news about the formation of the alliance was published in the state-owned and run news agency, Saudi Press Agency (SPA). The news item said, “The countries here mentioned have decided on the formation of a military alliance led by Saudi Arabia to fight terrorism, with a joint operations center based in Riyadh to coordinate and support military operations.” How could the Bedouins make such a preposterous announcement when no meeting was held among the countries that are supposedly members of this anti-terror alliance? It is certain that even if such a meeting ever took place, not all countries were present or fully aware of it. A Pakistani foreign office spokesman expressed surprise soon after the announcement saying they were unaware of any such alliance and had not been consulted on the matter. The confusion was compounded when a little later, Malaysia also said it would not participate in any military action.
The Saudi announcement also cited “a duty to protect the Islamic nation [sic] from the evils of all terrorist groups and organizations whatever their sect and name which wreak death and corruption on earth and aim to terrorize the innocent.” If so, how come the countries that are the most severely affected by terrorism are not included in the anti-terror alliance: Iran, Syria, and Iraq? The latter two have had to face the ISIS terrorist groups that are financed by the Najdi Bedouins and trained by Turkey and Jordan as well as the US. The most populous Muslim country — Indonesia — is also excluded from the so-called alliance, as is Oman, an Arab country that has pursued an independent policy free of Saudi domination or manipulation.
Critics were quick to point to the ludicrous notion that a state sponsor of extremism could fight terrorists. The coalition was a PR stunt, said the commentator Iyad al-Baghdadi who was quoted in the British daily, the Guardian on December 15. “Saudi Arabia heads a UN human rights council panel and now it leads an alliance against terrorism,” tweeted the Iraq expert Hayder al-Khoei of Chatham House. “This joke doesn’t need a punchline.”
Others were much harsher in their criticism. The Saudi-led alliance to fight terrorism was compared to the prostitutes of Paris setting up a group to fight immorality! Further, answering questions in the senate, Pakistan’s Foreign Policy Advisor Sartaj Aziz said the exclusion of some Islamic countries (referring to Iran, Iraq, and Syria) would be raised at the next meeting of alliance members expected to be held in two weeks. He said it would also be raised at the meeting of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).
It soon emerged that Pakistan had given some assurances to the Saudis to participate in the alliance. The Pakistan government spokesman was coy about who had done so but it was obvious that this could only have come from the military but the spokesman said the scope of Islamabad’s participation would be defined after Riyadh shared details of the coalition it was assembling.
“Pakistan… is awaiting further details to decide the extent of its participation in different activities of the alliance,” a statement issued by the Foreign Office said on December 16. Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir, meanwhile added that the participating countries would themselves decide about the extent of their participation. While that is a given since no country can be coerced into doing more than what it is willing to do, the question is, why did the Saudi defence minister make such a big deal about announcing the “alliance” when the details were still sketchy and not all players were fully aware of what it entailed? Further, how was it decided and by whom that its operational base would be in Riyadh?
There are other problems as well with the so-called alliance. Many of its members are not only habitual human rights abusers but also supporters of terrorism. The Nigerian military’s hands were still dripping with the blood of thousands of innocent Muslims that it had slaughtered two days earlier when it attacked members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria. Women and children were included in the list of those murdered in cold blood. One is constrained to ask: why has the same army done little or nothing about the Boko Haram terrorists that have been rampaging the country killing, looting, and raping? There are reports that the Nigerian military is in fact working hand in glove with the terrorists.
Others members of the alliance are equally notorious. The Egyptian military had perpetrated its own bloodbath when it massacred thousands of members of al-Ikhwan al-Muslimoon in August 2013. The military had only a few weeks earlier overthrown a democratically elected government — the first ever in Egyptian history. As for the Najdi Bedouins, they are notorious for chopping heads of ordinary people especially expatriate poor workers for minor offences while members of the ruling family get away literally with murder.
At the end of October, Saudi Prince Muhsin was caught at Beirut airport smuggling about two tons of drugs in a private plane to the Kingdom. Far from punishing him for this crime (in Saudi Arabia, the penalty is death), there were frantic efforts to get him a Lebanese diplomatic passport to enable him to flee the country. Was the prince punished for his crime? Perish the thought. The Saudis’ sword is reserved for people that dare criticize the corrupt rulers of the Kingdom and the migrant workers who neither rights nor advocates.
The day after the Najdi Bedouins announced formation of the anti-terror alliance, a UN official warned against growing repression in the archaic Kingdom and said it should stop handing down harsh sentences to rights activists. David Kaye, the UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of expression and opinion, on December 16 castigated the Saudi regime for its punishment of three bloggers and rights advocates, saying the rising trend in the number of court rulings involving rights issues is a sign of “growing repression” in the Kingdom. Poets, bloggers, and human rights activists are routinely punished and flogged.
Horrific as these punishments are, they pale into insignificance compared to the Kingdom’s support of the very terrorists it now purports to want to fight. The takfiri terrorists are the product of Saudi preaching. They are not doing anything unusual from their point of view. They have suckled at the breast of Wahhabism and the barbaric practices of head chopping and organ eating that they indulge in have been passed on to them in their genes.
The notion that the Saudis are not only going to form an anti-terror alliance but will lead it as well is so outlandish as to beggar belief. The dinosaurs from Dar‘iyah are given to such antics; what is surprising is why would countries like Pakistan want to participate in such an alliance, especially when it is a crude attempt to divide the Ummah. It requires no great imagination to figure out that it will lead to the deepening of sectarian tensions in the Ummah. Can a country like Pakistan afford such an outcome given the fissures in its social makeup?
Last March, Pakistan had managed to keep out of the Saudis’ ill-conceived plan to attack Yemen. Initially, the Saudis had included Pakistan in the Saudi-led coalition. True, the Saudis were not pleased with the Pakistanis’ response having always taken them for granted in the past.
Following the Yemeni spat, the Pakistanis tried to make up with the Saudis. It appears the attraction of riyals was too strong to resist. In October, Pakistan launched a new program to train Saudi Special Forces in counter-terrorism. That must have been fun given the gross incompetence of the Saudis who are not capable of changing even a light bulb. Can a Pakistan sergeant major honestly say that after weeks of training, the Saudis were able to march in a straight line without tripping over each other? How can these clowns lead a counter-terrorism alliance? It is sad to see that even the Pakistan Army chief, General Raheel Sharif has lent credibility to Saudi antics. Following the completion of special exercises, he visited Saudi Arabia for discussions on counter-terrorism efforts. It was these discussions that led the Saudis to announce that Pakistan was part of their new anti-terror alliance.
The Saudi announcement was made following pressure from the Americans that Arab countries must do more to fight terrorism. The Saudis cannot say “no” to their imperialist masters especially at a time when Washington is cooling off toward the ruling family.
One cannot, however, overlook the great cynicism in the American demand and the Saudi response. Both regimes and their allies are the principal backers, supporters, and financiers of the terrorists. If the Americans were really serious about confronting the terrorist threat, they could simply pick up the phone and tell the Saudis to stop funding the terrorists. At the same time, the Americans could stop arming and training these barbarians. Nothing of the sort would happen because the Americans want the terrorists to advance a number of their policy objectives in the region.
As far as the Saudis’ new anti-terror alliance is concerned, it is difficult to decide whether one should laugh or cry.